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July 30th, 2013
02:17 PM ET

Why are millennials leaving church? Try atheism

Opinion by Hemant Mehta, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Articles and books about why millennials are leaving Christianity often focus on what churches are doing "wrong."

They're anti-gay, anti-women, anti-science, anti-sex-education and anti-doubt, 
to name a few of the most common criticisms.

I don't disagree with those critiques, but there's another side to the story.

While Christians have played sloppy defense, secular Americans have been showing off some impressive offense, giving young Christians plenty of reasons to lose faith in organized religion.

For instance, atheists dominate the Internet, rallying to thriving websites and online communities in lieu of physical meeting spaces.

Even a writer for the evangelical magazine Relevant admitted that “While Christianity enjoys a robust online presence, the edge still seems to belong to its unbelievers.”

Atheists outnumber Christians on popular discussion forums like Reddit, where subscribers to the atheism section number more than 2 million. The Christianity section is not even 5% of that.

The Internet-based Foundation Beyond Belief, which encourages atheists to donate to charitable organizations, just celebrated raising $1 million for worthwhile causes. (Disclosure: I serve on its board of directors.)

Moreover, blogs and websites espousing non-religious viewpoints and criticizing Christianity draw tons of Internet traffic these days. For every Christian apologist's argument, it seems, there's an equal and opposite rebuttal to be found online. I call that "Hitchens' Third Law.”

READ MORE: Why millennials are leaving the church 

Christians can no longer hide in a bubble, sheltered from opposing perspectives, and church leaders can't protect young people from finding information that contradicts traditional beliefs.

If there's an open comment thread to be found on a Christian's YouTube video or opinion piece online, there's inevitably going to be pushback from atheists.

There has also been a push by atheists to get non-religious individuals to "come out of the closet" and let people know that they don't believe in God.

Among other things, this proves that anti-atheist stereotypes aren't accurate and, just as important, that atheists aren’t alone in their communities.

There's the Richard Dawkins Foundation's Out Campaign, with its Scarlet A badges.

There are atheist-encouraging billboards in 33 states financed by groups like the United Coalition of Reason.

There's even going to be an 1-800 hot line for people "recovering" from religion.

READ MORE: Atheists to start 1-800 hot line for doubters

And last year, an estimated 20,000 atheists turned out for the Reason Rally in Washington, a tenfold increase from the previous atheist rally in 2002.

But more than anything else, atheism's best advertisements may be the words of Christian leaders themselves.

When Pastor Mark Driscoll belittles women, Rick Warren argues against same-sex rights or Rob Bell equivocates on the concept of hell, we amplify those messages for them - and it helps us make our point.

(It goes without saying that the pairing of Pat Robertson and YouTube has been great for atheists.)

Pastors are no longer the final authority on the truth, and millennials know it.

Even if they hold Jesus' message in high esteem, the Bible as it has traditionally been preached by many evangelical pastors is becoming less and less attractive to them.

A 2012 study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PDF) showed that many Christians aged 18-24 felt that Christianity was hypocritical (49%), judgmental (54%) and anti-gay (58%).

In addition, Christianity Today reported last year that fewer than half of born-again Christians under 35 opposed same-sex marriage.

When millennials' pastors and hearts are going in different directions, church leaders should be worried.

Can churches win back the youth?

Barring a complete shift in beliefs, that may not be possible. Some of the proposed solutions seem ludicrous to millennial atheists like myself.

For instance, there's been talk of finding a better way to reconcile science and religion. Whenever that battle takes place, religion loses.

There are some questions we may never know the answer to, but for the ones we can eventually answer, the scientific explanation will devour the religious one. Mixing science and religion requires a distortion of one or the other.

READ MORE: Behold, the six tribes of atheism 

What about focusing on the message and life of Jesus?

While this sounds good philosophically, the myth surrounding Jesus is part of the problem with Christianity.

To believe in Jesus means believing that he was born of a virgin, rose from the dead and performed a number of miracles.

There's no proof of any of that ever happened, and atheists place those stories in the same box as "young Earth creationism" and Noah's Great Flood.

To be sure, if Christians followed the positive ideas Jesus had, we'd all be better off, but it's very hard to separate the myth from the reality.

In short, there are many reasons the percentage of millennials who say they've never doubted God's existence is at a record low, and nearly a quarter of adults under 30 no longer affiliate with a faith.

The church has pushed young people away, yes, but there are also forces actively pulling them in the other direction.

It appears that atheists and Christians are finally working together on the same task: getting millennials to leave the church.

Hemant Mehta blogs at The Friendly Atheist. The views expressed in this column belong to Mehta. 

Photos: Famous atheists and their beliefs

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Church • Culture & Science • Faith • Internet • Nones • Opinion • Science • United States

soundoff (5,653 Responses)
  1. CommonSensed

    People leave the church when they choose to live life without a bunch of mumbo jumbo and want to think for themselves.

    July 30, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • lol??

      Bigotry is common.

      July 30, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
      • M.R.

        You abound bigotry.

        July 30, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
      • CommonSensed

        In religion? You bet it is.

        July 30, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
        • Al

          And bigotry exists outside religion as well.

          July 31, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Al

      Often people go to the church when they're tired of the mumbo jumbo of secular life as well. What I'm trying to say is... atheism, religion... Believe whatever works for you. I can't see what good is supposed to come from tearing down other people's beliefs. I have just as much problem with obnoxious evangelizing atheists as I do with the same ilk of believers. You wanna influence others or try to convince them that your way of life is better? Try showing by example. Let them come to their own conclusions.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:38 am |
      • kgavranovic

        well said.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
        • shamgar50

          Not really!

          September 4, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
      • shamgar50

        Perhaps you should look up the definition of mumbo jumbo. It fits religion to a T, not the reality of Atheism.

        September 4, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
  2. lol??

    A&A's are mobster bullies blowing off Christian comments left and right. Sodominian demobocracy at its finest.

    July 30, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • M.R.

      Spitter's remorese. Swallow next story.

      July 30, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      I believe your moniker is correct in that the last two symbols are question marks. Which is what comes to mind when reading your posts.

      In other words: huh??

      July 30, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
      • lol??

        Admitting you have a problem with bigotry is (only) the first step.

        July 30, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
        • CommonSensed

          You're welcome to admit you're a bigot whenever you'd like.

          I was merely commenting on the lack of proper grammar, spelling, cognitive ability and general common sense your posts lack. Which has nothing to do with bigotry, but rather just pointing our facts.

          July 30, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  3. Lukas77

    Atheists naively misunderstand atheism and are unwilling to confront the very obvious contradictions that exist within their secular humanistic belief system. Atheism is really an updated version of theosophy and is truly a pseudoreligion.

    My argument is meant to show atheists that to absolutely claim deity cannot exist (or evolution is absolutely based on factual science or the universe absolutely spontaneously formed from a singularity), they feign a quality of deity called omniscience (all knowing) and, thereby, are at least implicitly and wrongly claiming they are deity (even if they do not comprehend/admit this paradoxical outcome).

    Atheists must always argue they are absolutely right while their opponents are always absolutely wrong; otherwise, they would be agnostics. To actually engage in such reasoning flies in the face of logic - since atheists all or nothing approach smacks of feigned self-deification (i.e., the theology of self based on self-perceived omniscience while at the same time never absolutely proving their untenable arguments).

    July 30, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Limper

      There's a way around your (tired) argument that atheists have to be omniscient, or that atheism is a religion. I can say that I am an atheist, and that I am sure that Gods do not exist because I find it ridiculous that my default worldview should have to include a belief in the supernatural.

      Do I have to be omniscient to say that I am certain that unicorns/vampires/dragons/fairies do not exist?

      July 30, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
      • Al

        Your beliefs are your beliefs. Mine are mine. What's the point of either of us trying to dissuade the other? (Although, discussion of beliefs, differences, etc. can be interesting of course.) Or worse yet criticizing, belittling each other's beliefs? Religious faith gives some meaning to my life, informs my choices, actions, etc. But I don't think you have to be religious to be a good person or such. And I can't say for sure there is or isn't a God or god or higher power or creator spirit or whatever. In the end, none of us know what happens after we die (well, other than decomposition of the body, becoming food for maggots, etc.). Until then, we're all just guessing, basing belief on faith or whatever. I don't see how science could prove or disprove God or gods.
        At times I believe that anybody who claims to know one way or the other is a tad delusional. But then I think I'm being as smug as those I myself criticize. I go by faith. And science doesn't deny my faith.
        I figure we're all trying to find a meaning... some kind of explanation for the unknown, the mysteries of the universe... more specifically life, the universe, and everything.

        July 31, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • redzoa

      @Lukas77 – There are gradations of atheism. Some atheists do claim that no god(s) exist and I agree this position is akin to the theist claim that god(s) do exist in that neither can reasonably state the claim as verifiable. However, most atheists take the position that given the available evidence of natural causation and the sheer lack of supporting physical evidence indicating the existence of god(s), god(s) most likely do not exist. Like scientific positions, this position accepts the possibility, however improbable, that god(s) may in fact exist. In other words, your omniscience argument is only valid for those who claim actual knowledge of either the existence or non-existence of god(s).

      Regarding evolution and the beginning of the universe, both propositions are solidly based on the available physical evidence. With respect to evolution, there is evolution the fact (i.e. changes in genetic compositions of a population over time) and evolution the scientific theory (i.e. evolution the fact explains observable extant and extinct biodiversity). Although we can never actually go back 100 million years, we can look at the fossil record and apply the scientific method to test predictions. Suffice it to say, that evolution the scientific theory has been validated in numerous successful predictions and direct applications in medicine, agriculture, engineering, etc. For the science to be wrong here, it would require that all of the supporting disciplines (i.e. physics, chemistry, geology, paleontology, biology, astronomy, etc) be so fundamentally flawed that they must be effectively useless. You are free to doubt the science, but there comes a point where such doubt becomes merely an unreasonable position based solely in preserving a preferred theological narrative.

      July 30, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
      • itselectric

        Thank you. This is seriously the most reasonable comment on this thread.

        July 30, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
      • Lukas77

        With respect to your first retort, I completely agree with you, except that what you describe is really agnosticism (from the perspective of the unbeliever), not atheism. My argument, in this regard, in not against agnosticism, but rather, die hard atheism that unilaterally promotes the belief in the absolute nonexistence of deity.

        Secondly, you are in error to claim that the age of the universe and evolution have been proven by the scientific method. Please, if you can, provide me with the names of laboratory experiments (the scientific method requires experiment to prove a scientific theory is a fact), that have proven the age of the universe and/or evolution. It is actually a case of impossibility, because scientists would have to live for millions of years to replicate the theories of the age of the universe and evolution in a laboratory. I am sorry to say that predictions do not cut the cheese with respect to the scientific method. What you, and others claim, are predictions are actually huge scientific assumptions made with respect to observed scientific data. Evolutionists are desperate in their attempts to make it appear that evolution is a factual science, when in reality it is at the level of only an unsupported hypothesis (i.e., no missing links have ever been discovered, no DNA extracted from a neanderthal has ever been proven to the same as human DNA, and if it were, then it would actually only be a human to begin with, etc.).

        You are also ignorant about the history of science with respect to the fact that, in the past, generally accepted scientific discoveries were jettisoned once they were determined to be unprovable and obsolete theories (e.g., luminiferous aether - a precursor theory to the photon; the flat earth theory in the classic world; the geocentric model of the universe, etc.,).

        Although I cannot prove it, I personally believe the cosmos may not only be billions of years old, but trillions of years old. However, I would never try to tell anybody my belief is based on scientific fact, but rather, a scientific hypothesis, based on scientific observations of the red and blue shifting of the speed of light and the microwave background radiation. Moreover, I have a personal hypothesis that the cosmos are made up of multiple universes and that the our universe was created from a big bang that originated from a white hole that was created from a preexisting megauniverse that we are still gravitationally bound to.

        I can believe this scientific theory of an ancient cosmos, as a Christian, because when I read the creation account in Genesis, this account clearly shows that God created the heavens and earth from heaven (not earth) and that there are days and eternal time in heaven (all things are possible with God). The Bible also says that a thousand years are like a day to God. Therefore, when God created the cosmos and the earth over six days from heaven, when these days are translated into earth time (remember general relativity of time), these creation days, according to my theory, would appear to us on earth to transpire over billions or even trillions of years. However, I cannot support evolution, even as a plausible scientific theory because observational evidence supporting this theory is sorely lacking and, moreover, with respect to humans, the Bible clearly says we we were made in the image of God, not in the image of brainless amoebas and/or uncouth apes.

        July 30, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
        • redzoa

          You are not the final arbiter of the proper definition of atheism. Atheism can be properly (but not exclusively) defined as the rejection of the existence of god(s). Some may erroneously claim actual knowledge, but most do not. Nonetheless, unlike agnosticism, which claims insufficient information to reach a reasonable decision, weak atheism claims there is sufficient positive evidence of natural causation and a complete lack of verifiable evidence for the existence of god(s) to allow for the reasonable conclusion that the existence of god(s) is highly unlikely. TG has already pointed out the difference between a “belief” claim and a “knowledge” claim but I guess you either missed it or didn’t comprehend.

          If you were trained in science, you would know better than to use the word "proven" as this is only applicable in formal logic and mathematics. The evidence supporting an ancient earth and evolution are available and I will not do your homework for you. But given that you conflate the relative hierarchy of facts and a scientific theory in your second parenthetical, I suspect you have neither the inclination nor the actual requisite background to do a proper inquiry.

          Contrary to your position which betrays an absence of any scientific training or research, the successful prediction of a scientific hypothesis is the bedrock of positive scientific evidence. When a proposed mechanism is repeatedly validated by successful prediction, this is where our facts come from. That DNA is the hereditary material is a fact, but it was once only a hypothesis. It was only after Avery’s work and the repeated successful prediction of experimental outcomes that we came to know this fact. Furthermore, direct real-time observation is not required to apply the scientific method to a given question. I didn't have to witness the act, but I can sample your DNA, the DNA of your mother, and the DNA of potential fathers to determine which two parties were actually involved in your conception.

          There are too many intermediate/transitional fossils to list but they do exist and more importantly, they exist in the correct times and places in the geologic column providing an ever increasing validation of evolutionary theory predictions. More importantly, there aren’t any forms out of place, i.e. no humans alongside dinosaurs, no rabbits in the pre-Cambrian. There are clearly forms which bridge the modern major classes of vertebrates (as well as virtually every other phylum), possessing traits of both lineages, e.g. Archaeopteryx bridges feathered dinosaurs and modern birds, Tiktaalik bridges lobe-finned fish and terrestrial tetrapods, etc, etc. Feel free to play some semantic game with what is or isn’t an intermediate or transitional fossil (as you appear want to do with “atheist”), but the evidence remains the same.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_transitional_fossils

          Both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA extracted from H. neanderthalis have shown significant nucleotide similarities and differences, simultaneously indicating our relationship via evolution and gene flow while also showing our respective distinctiveness as hominid forms. Regardless, the morphometric cladistics (now bolstered by the genetics) of the hominid lineage shows a clear progression comprised of distinct species. The problem for ID/creationists is where does the line fall between apes and humans? It’s actually rather amusing to see them fumble over little details like this(i.e. ok H. neanderthalis is human but not H. rhodesiensis, ok H. rhodesiensis but not H. erectus, ok H. erectus too, but not H. ergaster . . .).

          I’m rather well versed in the history of science and how its strength is in disregarding hypotheses which fail to stand up under novel evidence. The important thing to note here is that unlike religious belief, science is self-correcting and it was further application of the scientific method which exposed the flawed hypotheses. Contrast this to religion with no viable means for self-correction, just convenient hermeneutics and more unverifiable revelations. Perhaps this is why religion is forever diverging into more discrete sects all claiming theirs is correct, while science is forever converging to produce the facts we take for granted.

          Given your demonstrably incorrect claims regarding what science is, what the scientific evidence actually says, and how it should be practiced, I frankly have no interest in your hypotheses. But here’s a parting question for you and your desire to believe you are specially created, why do you, presumably a mammal, possess a defunct gene for the production egg yolk, i.e. one of many molecular vestigial “fossils” in your very own genome?

          July 30, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
        • Neo Atheist

          @Redoza
          You posted a well thought out response and viable argument.
          However, you will not win this argument with Lukas77. He is firmly entrenched in his view and will not budge. There is no arguing with someone like that. They are right and their view is the only view and everyone else is wrong type of person. Sometimes it is just best to ignore posters like him. In the end Lukas77 is nothing but a troll trying to get others worked up for his own enjoyment.

          July 31, 2013 at 6:03 am |
        • Lukas77

          Neo Atheist, you explained, yourself, in your ad hominem reply comment attacking my well reasoned comment against atheism and false science.

          July 31, 2013 at 11:51 am |
        • Lukas77

          redzoa, you are no scientist and you do not even have a basic understanding of the reality of theory versus fact in the scientific world. In your fairy tale world of relativisms, where there are no truths, you have no problem claiming theory is fact. However, theory is theory (e.g., evolution, gravito, multiple universe, nuclear fusion, etc.), and fact is fact (e.g., speed of light, elements, higgs boson, atom, nuclear fission, etc.). Because it is impossible to prove evolution is fact you, and others, resort to suspect studies that have not proven evolution at all and are based on huge assumptions of observed data.

          These DNA studies have not directly shown any valid scientific correlation between neanderthals and humans. Moreover, any claimed neanderthal DNA they have discovered has to be seriously questioned as a viable source of DNA due to its extreme age. The scientific method also requires repeated experiments by different scientists in different laboratories before a scientific consensus is reached in the scientific community that a particular scientific theory is proven as fact. This process of repeated experiment is called iteration, under the scientific method, and will never exist in the area of evolutionary theory due to the woeful lack of "VIABLE" samples or, for that matter, any significant number of any evolutionary samples, viable or not. To wit, neanderthal DNA. These scientific DNA studies, you have referred to, would be considered pathological science at best, similar to cold fusion experiments.

          I am also correct to use the term "proven" as a perfect descriptive word for explaining when a scientific theory has become a fact, such as with the speed of light, nuclear fission, discovered elements, the atom, the photon, eventually the higgs boson (still requires repeated experiment by different scientists), etc.

          Do not be an angry atheist. Instead, admit you are wrong, and that as an atheist, there is relativity of all things that leads to spiritual and intellectual confusion.

          Finally, if evolution were already proven as fact, there would have been headlines in the news all over the world touting this alleged "Great" scientific discovery.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
        • Jobu

          @Lukas77
          Faith allows you to dismiss the scientific argument, but not to construct a scientific justification for that dismissal. Here is one of my favorite responses to comments such as yours,
          "I am annoyed and disgusted at the intellectual dishonesty shown by nonscientists who ignore specific fields of science and then claim to have some special angle on it which the thousands of scientists in that field somehow missed. The intellectual dishonesty comes in the fact that you know (or should, if you make this assertion) the rules of science, yet you claim to be operating within them. Add to that the intellectually dishonest selective acceptance of science implicit in your assertion (why not also reject the semiconductor physics upon which your computer is based?).

          The overwhelming physical evidence that humans and bonobos evolved from a common ancestor provides no room whatsoever for that behavior. Deny common ancestry and you assume a truly extraordinary burden of proof. In my 3 decades of public discussion about evolutionary biology, no religious person who has ever made this claim could show their thinking was driven by anything other than religious dogma, augmented by poor or no understanding of the scientific evidence they denied. Your claim fits right with those.

          Feel free to demonstrate otherwise, but remember that religion, including supernatural beliefs and holy books, has no place in the argument because we are talking about a point of science, which is based on evidence."

          July 31, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
        • a reasonable atheist

          @redzoa

          Thank you for taking the time to lay out refutation in clear terms, as vain as it might have been in terms of the discussion at hand. My personal specialty & experience is in the physical sciences, and it was nice to read a succinct summary of evidence from the life science side of things.

          Cheers.

          August 2, 2013 at 12:44 am |
        • redzoa

          Thank you both, Neo and Reasonable Atheists for your kind words . . .

          @Lukas77 – Although some of my committee members would agree with you that I’m no scientist, they still saw fit to sign off on a couple of graduate degrees and didn’t mind sharing authorship on our peer-reviewed publications. I note you did not address many of the specific points I made by citing specific deficiencies, but merely provided another litany of arguments of personal, ill-informed incredulity. I further note you declined to respond to the question I asked at the end of my prior post.

          I’ll skip the part where I explain the relationship between a scientific theory and facts, but will point out that in addition to providing the framework to test hypotheses, some but not all scientific theories, do become facts unto themselves, e.g. germ theory of disease, heliocentric theory, etc. The principal reason some scientific theories have not yet become facts unto themselves is because they have yet to exhaust their specific application in framing the investigation of new questions, i.e. like all of science, they await to discovery the limit of their explanatory power and until then remain subject to revision in light of that limit. That said, evolution is both a fact, i.e. a change in allele frequency in a population over time, and a scientific theory which incorporates evolution the fact along with other relevant physical evidence from virtually every scientific field to explain observable extant and extinct biodiversity. For a simple example, evolution the fact describes influenza and its ever changing genome year-to-year; however, the theory of evolution explains why some strains become the dominant circulating strains that we target for vaccine production (compet-ition among the viral strains and selection by available hosts). For another example, evolution the fact describes certain populations with very limited or expansive heterozygosity; however, the theory of evolution explains why these respective populations are at increased or decreased risks of extirpation.

          In light of the validated predictions of the theory of evolution (e.g. fused 2nd human chromosome; phylogenetic relationships between extant and extinct forms; the precise locations of endogenous retroviruses and other genes relating to unique disorders of human development and metabolism; the precise locations of pseudogenes and other molecular vestigial fossils; the continual discovery of intermediate and transitional fossils in the correct strata/order bearing the expected cross-over traits; the functional creativity of mutation and selection in the lab and the wild (see Lenski’s E. coli, RNA aptamers, Pod Mrcaru lizards, etc), the biogeographic distributions of specific species in relation to others (See African cichlids, ring species, etc)), for the theory of evolution to be incorrect, it would require that our fundamental understanding of physics, chemistry, biology, paleontology, geology, astronomy, etc, must be so erroneous that the entire practice of science would be incapable of providing the technology, medicine, agriculture, natural resource identification/extraction, etc, that we take for granted.

          Have you actually read the multiple (i.e. iterations) published journal articles regarding the H. neanderthalensis genome and its relationship to not only the H. sapien genome, but also the Denisova hominins? I suspect not, because they describe their methods for determining which fossils were likely to contain viable DNA and how they went about excluding those specimens that had been contaminated with human DNA. We have a literal ton of human DNA sequences available and when you can amplify DNA sequences that are outside the range of human variation, but still don’t match the known sources of DNA contamination (various microbes, molds, fungi, etc), you can be pretty confident they are unique to the fossil. But don’t take my word for it, go to Pubmed and search for “Neanderthal genome.” You’ll get 74 hits. Not all are directly on point, but you’ll see that these extraction, amplification and sequencing experiments have been replicated many times by the original authors and then independently in various applications by other authors. Most of the major papers are freely available so knock yourself out, then come back and articulate the specific problems with their research methodologies and conclusions. Here’s a couple to get you started:

          Scholz, et al., Genomic differentiation of Neanderthals and anatomically modern man allows a fossil-DNA-based classification of morphologically indistinguishable hominid bones. Am J Hum Genet. 2000 Jun;66(6):1927-32.

          Green, et al., Analysis of one million base pairs of Neanderthal DNA. 2006 Nov 16: 444(7117):330-6.

          Lalueza-Fox, et al., A melanocortin 1 receptor allele suggests varying pigmentation among Neanderthals. Science. 2007 Nov 30;318(5855):1453-5.

          Reich, et al., Genetic history of an archaic hominin group from Denisova Cave in Siberia. Nature. 2010 Dec 23;468(7327):1053-60.

          Lowery, et al., Neanderthal and Denisova genetic affinities with contemporary humans: Introgression versus common ancestral polymorphisms. Gene. 2013 Jul 19. pii: S0378-1119(13)00756-7.

          They all support the notion that H. neanderthalensis is very similar, but still distinct from both H. sapiens and the Denisova hominins. If you’re still not satisfied, write a grant and ask for some samples (scientists, unlike apologists, generally love to share their actual evidence) and attempt to replicate the experiments. I’m sure you’ll have no trouble enlisting the help of the various ID/creationist camps to help you given their incredible successes. Just think, this is your big chance to expose the grand mainstream science conspiracy.

          Regarding your reference to "pathological science," how do explain any of the validated predictions mentioned above? Blind luck over and over and over again? I love that ID/creationists incessantly point to flawed improbability arguments to support their incredulity, but ever fail to explain why this scientific theory remains the only validated explanation for an incredibly broad range of biological observation.

          Lastly, I’m not angry. It’s just frustrating to hear folks who clearly have no understanding of the relevant science talking out of their backsides and then projecting their miscomprehensions back onto those of us who do have actual science backgrounds. But even if you choose not to go and read up on the Neanderthal genomics, you could still have a go at explaining why humans have a defunct gene for egg yolk protein in our genomes?

          http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pbio.0060063#s3

          August 2, 2013 at 3:44 am |
      • Al

        Nicely said.

        July 31, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • Peregrine

      Lukas I've seen you post in this vein several times today. Each time you have been corrected by the same folks you are badly describing and yet you persist. What do you gain by misrepresenting others beliefs (or lack thereof)? What do you hope to gain from such dishonest statements?

      July 30, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
      • Lukas77

        I am not to be corrected by biased atheists who do not even understand their own relativistic belief system. Instead of attacking me, attack my arguments - if you can.

        July 30, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
        • redzoa

          uhh . . . we did . . .

          July 30, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
        • Neo Atheist

          And what makes you such an expert on Atheism?

          July 30, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
        • Neo Atheist

          You are just as biased in your views as you say atheists are. There is nothing anyone will or can say that will meet up to what you feel is your superior view and challenge it. You are convinced in what you believe is right and that your view on how atheists are that no one will ever convince you otherwise even when they present valid arguments that challenge your view. You offer only a one sided win on this, and that is you are the one who has to win and in your mind you will always be right and everyone else is wrong. There is no point in arguing the points with you since for anyone else, its a no win situation.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
        • Neo Atheist

          Even your posts you support my assessment here. You say "If you can" or "I will not be corrected". Atheists like any other religion and belief system will always be biased in their view. As I said you offer a no win argument to other posters here, because you are just as biased in your view and stance as biased atheists.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
        • Lukas77

          Sorry, you pseudoatheists have not proven one iota of you relativistic belief system to me, or anybody else. Atheism is all smoke and mirrors where all philosophical outcomes are an ad infinitum mirage of true reality.

          July 30, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
        • Neo Atheist

          And hence you just proved my assessment of you and your views.

          July 30, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
      • Neo Atheist

        Basically, nothing we say will be enough for you.

        July 30, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • Neo Atheist

      Christians naively misunderstand Christianity and are unwilling to confront the very obvious contradictions that exist within their belief system. Christianity is really an updated version of theosophy and is truly a pseudoreligion.

      My argument is meant to show Christians that to absolutely claim deity can exist (or evolution is absolutely based on factual science or the universe absolutely spontaneously formed from a singularity), they feign a quality of deity called omniscience (all knowing) and, thereby, are at least implicitly and wrongly claiming they are deity (even if they do not comprehend/admit this paradoxical outcome).

      Christians must always argue they are absolutely right while their opponents are always absolutely wrong; otherwise, they would be agnostics. To actually engage in such reasoning flies in the face of logic – since Christians all or nothing approach smacks of feigned self-deification (i.e., the theology of self based on self-perceived omniscience while at the same time never absolutely proving their untenable arguments).

      Make a few changes here and there and your argument works even better.

      July 30, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
      • AL

        Neo Atheist I agree with most of your comment, but have a difference of opinion on some points.
        BOTH atheist and christians argue that they are absolutely correct. Some take evolution as a fact, basing this on scientic findings and explanations even if some have been proven to be incorrect or just not proven at all.
        Some christians will argue that god does exist based on what they have experienced in their life (NOT referring to miracles or healings).
        Each one can believe what they choose to believe. We shouldn't be so quick to judge anyone who does not believe in a god as an immoral, hateful wicked, evil person. On the other hand atheist should not be so quick to judge anyone who does believe in a god as non-intellectuals or blind sheep.

        July 31, 2013 at 4:30 am |
        • Steve

          The difference is atheism is a lack of belief and not a belief system. The reason why we don't believe in God is because all observations of the natural world converges on a common consensus. Atheist base their belief or lack there of on evidence and religious people base it on "experience." Doesn't matter that we have been able to duplicate religious experiences in a lab. People greatly underestimate the power of the human brain.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      that to absolutely claim deity cannot exist (or evolution is absolutely based on factual science or the universe absolutely spontaneously formed from a singularity),

      Let's take these in turn:

      absolutely claim deity cannot exist – nope.

      I don't believe in God but can't (and don't have to) prove the non-existence of God.

      evolution is absolutely based on factual science
      the universe absolutely spontaneously formed from a singularity
      – nope.

      Evolution and the big-bang are theories supported by evidence. Science doesn't claim anything "absolutely". It is our best explanation, based on the evidence. If a better explanation and new evidence comes along that fits the evidence better, we'll rewrite the science books.

      Your mistake is to assume that atheism is an absolutist position like I assume your theism is.

      July 30, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
      • Lukas77

        Yes, atheism is an absolutist belief system and, therefore, you predatory atheists need to absolutely prove why your doublespeak atheism is absolutely correct, rather than just smoke and mirrors circular reasoning.

        You also do not know the first thing about scientific theory versus scientific fact. Until scientific theories are proven true by the scientific method, they are just hypotheses, including gravity. Any scientist who claims, otherwise, would be a pseudoscientist. Admittedly, some scientific theories, such as gravity, iron cores at the center of most planets, nuclear fusion, etc., are plausible based on observation. However, other scientific theories, such as evolution and cold fusion are not even plausible scientific theories, because they are not based on observable evidence, but rather on the pathological science of personal opinion and assumption.

        July 30, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          No atheism is not absolutist. This is your definition.

          I am an atheist. It is not my definition, nor the definition in the OED. One can simply lack belief and be an atheist and not need your permission.

          Where did I define evolution as fact? It is a theory and it is supported by the evidence we have. If a better theory comes along it will be adopted.

          Is the speed of light a limit? So far it appears to be, but who knows. Newton's laws of motion are demonstrably factual by experiment which is in accordance with your definition of "scientific fact", but we know they are inadequate for all cases.

          July 30, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Lukas, the scientific method 'proves' nothing. Proofs are part of math and logic. In science it is all theories. That's as good as it gets. Tho quote Kanazawa: 'Anyone who uses the words “proof,” “prove” and “proven” in their discussion of science is not a real scientist.'

          July 30, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
        • Lukas77

          Your replies, regarding proven scientific fact versus unproven scientific theory, demonstrates you woeful state of ignorance regarding basic concepts long accepted by all VALID scientific disciplines. The scientific method applies directly to the areas of astrophysics, physics, biology, biological evolution, geology, etc. To say, otherwise, demonstrates your complete state of arrogant ignorance brought about by your relativistic moral and intellectual atheistic beliefs - irrational beliefs that lead to moral and intellectual confusion in all areas of your lives. Believing in the pathological science of evolution is like believing in the tooth fairy - it simply is not proven fact and never will be using the scientific method.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
        • Min

          I'm curious, how much formal training in science do you have? What degrees?

          You seem to be making a classic mistake, which is confusing the scientific definition of "theory" with the mathematic definition of "theory."

          A scientific theory is a concept that has been repeatedly tested and verified by multiple independent researchers, and they are accepted as true by the vast majority of the scientific community.

          Gravity, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, evolution - all of these are theories that are not only widely accepted, but as far as we know, are the /only/ plausible explanations for their related phenomena.

          When you say, "Well, it's just a theory!" as though that somehow discredits something, all you're doing is showing your own ignorance on the subject.

          July 31, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        It's time to drag out this old chestnut.

        I don't believe in absolutes.

        There are facts:
        We breathe oxygen. There are 7 billion humans living today. We will all die. George Washington was the first President of the United States, etc.

        There are proofs:
        The sum of two even numbers is even. Any number subtracted from itself equals zero. Any number divided by itself equals one.

        There are natural laws:
        Bodies in motion remain in motion. Bodies at rest remain at rest. F=ma. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The absolute pressure and volume of a given mass of confined gas at constant temperature are inversely proportional. PV = nRT. Matter cannot be created or destroyed. E=mc²

        There are theories, backed up by evidence.
        Our universe began with the big bang, 13.8 billion years ago. The earth is 4.5 billion years old. Humans evolved from primates. The end of the dinosaurs was coincident with a meteorite collision 65 million years ago.

        There are opinions:
        Raising tax revenue from the richest 1% will help reduce the deficit. The French Navy won the American War of Independence. Banning semi-automatic rifles will reduce mass killings.

        There are morals:
        Killing, lying and stealing are wrong.

        There are beliefs:
        There is one God – the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. There is one God – Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet. If one sows goodness, one will reap goodness; if one sows evil, one will reap evil.

        Each of these will be considered as ‘true’ by a great number of people, but the search for “truth” belongs in the philosophy department.

        None of these are absolute – except perhaps for death and taxes.

        July 30, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
        • Wajean

          I can't "compete" with such obvious intellectuals but I can never deny there is a God after what I have seen. He has done things in my family that blew the doctors minds and I have watched it with my own eyes. No man was there to do it and science couldn't explain it. I think if I were an atheist I would at the very least cover all the bases and ask God to prove to me that He does or doesn't exist. That may sound ridiculous, but what do you have to lose? (I do not speak judgmentally at all)

          July 30, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
        • TalkingSnake

          I can't believe it took that long for Pascal's Wager to get floated out...must be some kind of record.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:22 am |
    • TG

      Lukas,

      Nice strawman argument...

      Atheism and agnosticism are not mutually exclusive. One covers belief, specifically an absence of a belief in a god or gods. The other covers knowledge, whether you know, and when applied to god belief, whether you know a god or gods do or do not exist. The vast majority of atheists I've encountered are agnostic atheists. They lack a belief in a god(s), but don't claim to know that there aren't any. It's just the evidence for the positive claim that a god(s) exist isn't sufficient to warrant belief.

      An analogy... It's the same as a guilty / not guilty verdict in a trial. The person accused is either guilty or innocent, but they can only be found to be guilty or not guilty. Not guilty does not equal innocent, it simply means the evidence isn't sufficient to pronounce them guilty. Agnostic (or soft/weak) atheism is simply the 'not guilty' verdict in response to god(s) claims.

      July 30, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
      • Lukas77

        Sorry, you can only make the irrational claim that atheism and agnosticism are compatible with one another according to your own personal definition of atheism. These two belief systems are, in reality, incompatible with one another.

        An agnostic simply does not know whether deity exists. An atheist, on the other hand, simply rejects belief in the existence of deity (practically speaking, this doublespeak definition means they absolutely do not believe in deity even though they cannot prove to anyone why they are absolutely right that deity does not exist). Atheism is really circular reasoning at its worst.

        The reason the new atheists are making this marriage of convenience with agnosticism is because true atheists realize the futility of their one and only doubletalk tenant - ABSOLUTE rejection of belief in the existence of deity.

        July 30, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Lukas, could you reference the source of this definition you are using? While I agree that it would be nice to have pat terms that make this distinction, I don't believe the current terms do. SOME atheists certainly do have an absolutist position, and perhaps those are the one's you have met. But I don't think you are going to find any reliable source that limits the term to this group. I would like to see such a term as these people are as annoying to most atheists as they are to everyone else, but we have what we have.

          July 30, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
        • Lukas77

          Saraswati, with respect to to you sincere question regarding where I got my definition of atheism from, it mainly comes from my discussions with atheists that I have encountered on the street. They are honest and say to me they simply do not believe in God. When I talk to agnostics on the street, they tell me they do not know whether God exists. I never have dealt with atheists, until recently on blogs, who have such a relativistic approach to atheism.

          Other than that, I have already referenced a well known online source that defines atheism as: "Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist."

          If you get down to the crux of this foregoing definition, it is presupposed that atheists, using basic reasoning (i.e., major premise, minor premise, conclusion), had to come to the conclusion that God, or generic deity, does not exist based on an assortment of major and minor premises.

          If atheists truly believe that they simply have no belief in the existence of deity, their intellectual arrogance is revealed through their lack of reasoning to get to that conclusion in the first place. Atheists, who hold to this particular definition are saying they have not even given thought to whether deity exists because according to their own personal dictates, they claim their is no practical evidence of deity in creation that could even lead to a consideration of possible belief in the existence of deity. From the perspective of a reasoning critic of atheism, this type of intellectual pride is based on a doubletalk/doublespeak reasoning process of some atheists.

          The intellectual pride of some atheists, in this regard, is that they will not tell you how they got to the absolutist conclusion that they have no belief in the existence of deity; this is faulty argumentation lacking a major and minor premise(s). Practically speaking, I sincerely doubt that there are any atheists that have not considered directly whether God does exist or does not exist, before they came to the conclusion they simply have no belief in deity. Otherwise, they are arguing from their conclusion, rather than from sound premises.

          Additionally, once atheists are called out on their faulty logic, they resort to circular reasoning (arguing from conclusions) to defend their claims that either God does not exist at all, that they have no belief in the existence of God, or that they have an absence of belief regarding the existence of God. If atheists cannot demonstrate, through sound reasoning, how they came to these conclusions in any realistic manner, their conclusory unreasoned arguments come off as intellectually unsound and irrational.

          With respect to agnostic atheists, I have never heard this oxymoronic phraseology used until I started hearing about "new atheism". If atheists are not completely certain about the nonexistence of deity, then they are agnostics. I would go one step further and say that if atheists cannot absolutely prove the nonexistence deity, they would by necessity by agnostics, not atheists.

          My question is why do not atheists just admit they do not know whether God exists. There is nothing wrong in being intellectually honest. No critic of atheism buys the argument that atheists simply have no belief in the existence of deity (please rationally explain why?).

          My feeling is that deep down all persons know that God exists and they either hate or are angry with God regarding the harsh
          realities of our fallen human natures, and the consequent fallen world mankind has to live in. Ask God the Holy Trinity for a repentant and contrite heart and a mind of humble submission to God's ways (His supernatural law) and not our ways (irrational man made laws/beliefs).

          July 31, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        The online OED.

        atheist, n. and adj
        1. One who denies or disbelieves the existence of a God.

        disbelieve, v.
        1. trans. Not to believe or credit; to refuse credence to:

        No requirement for the positive assertion of the non-existence of God there.

        July 30, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • kevinlyda

      Here's a partial list of deities: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_deities

      Atheists don't believe any of these exist. You view this as an absolutist position. Am I therefore correct in assuming that you believe that all of the deities in that list exist or might exist?

      July 31, 2013 at 5:10 am |
    • thomas

      god is merely the mis-application of human's social ability – namely to infer intent and expectations of others – to try to explain the natural world.

      when we can't explain nature, we create a being and talk about intent and expectations of that being

      that understanding is not pseudo-religion ... it can and has been tested ... small sample ... limited generalizability ... standard testing disclaimers apply

      July 31, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • Amor DeCosmos

      You really don't understand atheism very well.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Edward

      Pretending atheist see themselves as god is so, so absurd. We've been over this before.

      August 5, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
      • *

        *atheists

        August 5, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      You have a lot to learn, Lukas. Fix your ignorance.

      August 5, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
  4. Dyslexic doG

    who or what created god?

    July 30, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • AE

      Perhaps God is eternal – God exists outside of our understanding for time, matter and space.

      July 30, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        then why do religious folk feel the need for a creator? Why can't the universe be eternal?

        July 30, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
        • AE

          Possibly the universe is not eternal.

          Maybe something eternal – from the outside – sparked this creation.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
        • Lukas77

          The universe cannot be a god because of the theory of general relativity. The four dimensions of length, width, height and time constantly change depending on where an object is located in the fabric of space. The universe, therefore, is diametrically opposed to the timeless and unchanging attributes that represent the true God.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          "Maybe something eternal – from the outside – sparked this creation."

          Maybe it did. None of us know. But that is different to what all religions are predicated on. We'll probably never know for sure so why is it so convincing to you given that it is pure speculation with no evidence for a creator.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
        • thomas

          god is merely the mis-application of human's social ability – namely to infer intent and expectations of others – to try to explain the natural world.

          when we can't explain nature, we create a being and talk about intent and expectations of that being

          didn't you know?

          July 31, 2013 at 9:17 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          IF god is omnipresent, then the universe is "within" god, and as the universe changes, so does god. So your god would be a changing god and not a changeless one. Some people just aren't very good with logic.

          August 5, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        If god is outside your understanding, why do you claim to know it so well?

        July 30, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      God's Spirit is this Nothingness we call Outer Space and it was from Nothingness that all matter was conceived...

      July 30, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
  5. Reality

    Our Creed:

    The Apostles'/Agnostics’/Atheists' Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many s BCS case 3078688emi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (references used are available upon request)

    July 30, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Reality

      Oops, scratch "s BCS case 3078688emi-fiction writers" and replace with "semi-fiction writers".

      July 30, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • lindy

      That's YOUR creed. You speak for no-one but yourself, you patronizing git.

      July 30, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Great – now you're a preacher too.

      July 30, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • Reality

      Hammering it home:

      As good students, you have read the reiterations of the "fems" (flaws, errors, muck and stench) of religion. Therefore the seeds have been planted in rich soil. Go therefore and preach the truth to all nations, reiterating as you go amongst the lost, bred, born and brainwashed souls of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as Rational Thinking makes its triumphant return all because of you!!!!

      July 30, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  6. ME II

    In general, a fairly good article.

    I wouldn't necessarily agree with the science and religion statements, as they can be "reconciled" just as long as you don't take many holy books literally. Whether or not that is "twisting" the religion is up to those who follow it, I guess. Although when the two do come into direct conflict/contradiction, yes, science wins.

    July 30, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      What really do you now about scientific reasoning..? Tell me please what it is that has consecrated scientific jargon to be the mainstay of scientific theologies..?

      July 30, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
      • M.R.

        Kettle is Pot Black.

        July 30, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @ME II,

      I agree. There is no reason that someone cannot hold a theistic view that is consistent with science, so long as they treat the creation myths allegorically.

      There are of course some miraculous things that must be accepted, but this is the essence of faith and, I think, still reasonable and self-consistent for who see the miraculous as divine and outside the normal world.

      July 30, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
      • Saraswati

        Also agreed. And in addition it is possible to create new religions that don't even include creation myths.

        July 30, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
  7. Colin

    Can a Christian please help me? I am having trouble distinguishing the third example of circular reasoning from the first two. Perhaps you can explain the difference.

    “I believe Obama is a great man because his biography says so, and the reason I believe his biography is that it is about Obama, who is a great man.”

    “I believe David Koresh was a wise and great prophet because the Branch Davidians wrote a book saying he is. I believe that book because it was inspired by David Koresh, a wise and great prophet.”

    “I believe God exists because it says so in the Bible. I believe the Bible because it is the inspired word of God.”

    July 30, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • AE

      Uh, you want us to critique your imagination?

      July 30, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
      • AE

        “I believe Obama is a great man because his biography says so, and the reason I believe his biography is that it is about Obama, who is a great man.”

        Who said this quote? Colin

        Who wrote this book? Nobody. Colin just imagined it.

        “I believe David Koresh was a wise and great prophet because the Branch Davidians wrote a book saying he is. I believe that book because it was inspired by David Koresh, a wise and great prophet.”

        Who said this quote? Colin

        Who wrote this book? Nobody. Colin just imagined it.

        “I believe God exists because it says so in the Bible. I believe the Bible because it is the inspired word of God.”

        Who said this quote? Colin

        Who wrote this book? People inspired by God.

        The God that they write about in this book – is alive and available to us today.

        You just need to humble yourself and ask Him to reveal Himself.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
        • Colin

          You said, "Who wrote this book? People inspired by God." What evidence do you have to support that the Bible was written by people inspired by God?

          July 30, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
        • ME II

          @AE,
          Perhaps you just need to humble yourself even more and He'll disappear.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
        • AE

          –What evidence do you have to support that the Bible was written by people inspired by God?–

          The truths revealed.

          God speaks to our hearts. We are not just rational – left side of the brain – creatures.

          God, or in your case evolution, gave you an imaginative, right side of the brain for a very good reason.

          That is why parts of the Bible are poetic in nature.

          God wants your heart. Not just your mind. He doesn't need your mind. But he can use it.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
        • Ernest T Bass

          @AE... you are a liar!.. you claim "truth" but truth requires evidence of which you have none for god.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
        • AE

          Get on your knees and humbly ask God to reveal Himself to you.

          (humble: marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, att.itude, or spirit; not arrogant or prideful.)

          Pride is the biggest obstacle to the evidence of God.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
        • Johnny

          AE, I assume that they do that and don't find god then they just did it wrong?

          July 30, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
        • AE

          Try doing it every morning for 2 weeks after you wake up. It doesn't take much time.

          If it doesn't work – and you feel the need to come on here and ask believers for evidence – keep doing that.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
        • sam

          Sounds pretty imaginative.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
        • AE

          We are imaginative creatures.

          Not just rational creatures.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
        • Lycidas

          "Who said this quote? Colin Who wrote this book? Nobody. Colin just imagined it."

          So very true. I especially liked that since he got caught he instantly went into attack mode.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
        • CommonSensed

          So...much...fail.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
        • Edward

          People inspired by (power) god...so funny!

          August 5, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          So, AE and Ly, your reasoning is that reasoning isn't circ.ular if certain authors are or are not involved. That's pretty fvcking stupid.

          August 5, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        It's only fair – you post your imagination on here all day long. No evidence though.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
  8. TheRationale

    The point about not being able to keep people in a bubble is spot on. That's the fuel of the fire. It sounds one-sided, but if you can't see that young people are leaving the church because it's *false*, you don't understand why it's happening. No amount of hipness in Christian bands or pastors or reconciliation with all the groups they usually hate on will change one iota of the fact that it's a complete myth.

    July 30, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
  9. Reddit user

    One small nitpick: On Reddit, /r/Atheism used to be a default subreddit. That is, **everyone** who signed up for a Reddit account until recently was automatically added as a subscriber. The same was not true of /r/Christianity, or of 99% of subreddits for that matter.

    July 30, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
  10. Salero21

    Still atheism is stupidity in Full bloom. It will be in Full bloom in winter.

    July 30, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      I see you're off your meds again. Silly christian...imaginary friends are only for children and gullible fools, now I don't think you're a child, so that would leave gullible fool. 🙂 Enjoy the day 🙂

      July 30, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • Pole dancing for Jesus

      Still Salero21 is stupidity in Full bloom. It will be in Full bloom in winter.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • Ernest T Bass

      Salt shaker......... delusion all year round!

      July 30, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • Salero21

      I hope you're all ready to be given butt flu by the hom.os! 🙂

      July 30, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
      • Salero21

        cuz i already did and it woz good

        July 30, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
    • sam stone

      eat your sidearm, pen-day-ho

      July 30, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
  11. lionlylamb

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_kfBn5iVPE&feature=player_detailpage

    "Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God's Domains" and do not dilly dally with scripted stories around which all biblical based issues are as but fables to the educated commoner and high rollers alike... Find out for yourselves the true whereabouts of God's Kingdom Domains and until you do, you will remain feebly lost and ever wanting the lusts of the materially centered... The True Kingdom of God's Domains is laid within one's physical essences upon the atomized scales of quantum physiologies, not upon mankind’s manly made and fabricated church undertakings...

    July 30, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
  12. aallen333

    Check the statistics buddy! There are actually less atheists today than there were 10 years ago.

    July 30, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • AE

      World wide the largest revival in Christian history is happening right now.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
      • Honey Badger Don't Care

        Actually your numbers are going down in the US. The only ones going up in the US are Mooslums and nones.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
        • AE

          The crime rate and unemployment rate is also rising.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
        • Johnny

          Actually the crime rate in the US has been dropping since the mid 90's.

          http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm

          July 30, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Temperatures are rising.
        Stock market is rising.
        House prices are rising.
        Interest rates are rising.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
        • lol??

          Ever heard of the firstborn of the dead??

          July 30, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Revelations makes even less sense than the rest of the bible. What does that have to do with the lack of correlation between the fall of christianity in the USA and crime, weather, etc.?

          July 30, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      Please cite your source of information.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • Ernest T Bass

      Site your source "buddy"

      July 30, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • sam

      It can't be comfortable to be that wrong.

      July 30, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • BrendaL

      Aalien, the study you appear to be citing only shows atheism falling because we now have data for China. In the past, it was assumed that all Chinese were atheist because it was the national position, with severe consequences for diversity. The study just shows reality instead of the pipe dream of the oppressive Chinese government.

      In the western countries, religion is losing ground to no religion, especially among the youth.

      July 30, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • Edward

      Said absolutely nobody.....Reported Atheists are now active. Latest figures place the number in the mid 30 percentile of respondents.

      August 5, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
  13. Lawrence

    Proof of God... "Ex nihilo, nihil fit" Out of nothing, nothing comes... There MUST be something eternal, either that thing is God, or the universe. If something is eternal, then it never had a beginning. The universe had a beginning, therefore it is not eternal.

    When you look at a building, you know immediately that there must have been a builder, simply because the building exists. When you look at a painting, you know immediately that there must have been a painter. Likewise, you can look at creation, and know that the very existence of a creation demands the existence of a Creator.

    July 30, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Zzz...you still offer nothing, but postulations without fact based purely on faith and nothing more.

      The building exists. The painting exists. Proof of our origins exist. Proof of your god(s)? Still none...

      July 30, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
      • Lawrence

        So you believe then that something comes from nothing? Is that what science teaches now?

        And keep in mind, theories based on mathematical equations do not make reality. I've read them all, and they are all so much wishful thinking...

        July 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
        • Colin

          How many fvcking times do you have to be told. I know of no scientist who thinks that "something comes from nothing." The only people who believe that horsesh.it are people who believe their god popped into existence.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
        • AE

          "The purpose of this universe is something that only God knows for sure, but it is increasingly clear to modern science that the universe was exquisitely fine-tuned to enable human life."

          Richard Smalley

          July 30, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
        • CommonSensed

          Where did I say something from nothing? That's your angle. I merely went through your proofs and spelled them out leaving you to answer as to proof of your god(s).

          Still waiting.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
        • Ernest T Bass

          Who created your god Larry?

          July 30, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
        • TBJ

          "I've read them all" Your being sarcastic right?

          July 30, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
        • BrendaL

          AE, the earth is very well suited to human life because we evolved to fit the world, not because some mystical being design it to fit us. If you see water in a tire rut, do you say "Wow, god created the tire rut with the perfect shape to fit that water!"? No, we fit the environment, it was not designed to fit us. Occam's Razor must rule in this case. When faced with either a supportable, scientific explanation or a mystical "woo woo" explanation, the rational choice is the scientific explanation.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
        • Edward

          Just this year, something came from nothing...at The Large Hadron Collider. Don't trot that old dead horse out.

          August 5, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
        • joe

          what's most pathetic is that a fundamentalist will pull out a science fact if they think it helps them and then call science quackery when it goes against their beliefs.

          August 5, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
      • AE

        “But the context of religion is a great background for doing science. In the words of Psalm 19, ‘The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork’. Thus scientific research is a worshipful act, in that it reveals more of the wonders of God’s creation.”

        –Arthur L. Schawlow

        July 30, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Nevertheless, you have yet to provide any evidence of a god. Most scientists do not believe in a personal god and the vast majority of scientists believe in evolution, Big Bang, etc. so cherry-picking god comments really does little to support your case. On the other hand, some evidence would be devastatingly powerful.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
        • Ernest T Bass

          Mytology is no background for science.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
      • Lawrence

        I'm amazed how many responses are filled with filth. I am reporting those as abuses by the way. Answer in a civil way, or do not answer. I have not gotten abusive, and you have.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
        • Colin

          And when are you going to lay out your evidence that the Judeo-Christian god created the Universe? Come on, no more excuses. your evidence please. And I mean evidence, not mental mind games. Evidence that the Jusdeo-Christian god made the Universe. Come on.......

          July 30, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
        • AE

          Humility is the key!

          I struggle with humility. The less humble I am, the more I think I'm god. And then I start acting hostile and rude like this Colin guy.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
        • Ernest T Bass

          We're waiting Larry........ where is your evidence????

          July 30, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • Colin

      Oh bullsh.it. First, why do say the Universe had a begining? Hint – don't answer because of the big bang, becuase no scientist I know thinks that means the Universe had a begining. Second, if your complexity=creator argument is true, who created your god?

      July 30, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
      • Lawrence

        That's circular reasoning... You apparently didn't read my post and you just anger posted. I said something ETERNAL MUST exist. And the universe is not eternal.
        Anything that is eternal never changes – if it changes positively, it had a beginning, if it changes negatively, then it will have and end. The universe changes, therefore it is not eternal.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
        • Colin

          You said "That's circular reasoning..."

          No, here is circular reasoning. “I believe God exists because it says so in the Bible. I believe the Bible because it is the inspired word of God.”

          You said, " I said something ETERNAL MUST exist. And the universe is not eternal.

          Why not? The law of the conservation of matter-energy strongly suggests it is.

          You said "Anything that is eternal never changes – if it changes positively, it had a beginning, if it changes negatively, then it will have and end. The universe changes, therefore it is not eternal."

          That doesn't even make any sense.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
        • CommonSensed

          The first law of thermodynamics covers what you are looking for, in a simplistic sense.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          1. Nobody has any idea if something "eternal" can or cannot exist. Stop being stupid.
          2. Because at the Planck level, all the forces are united, there is no time or matter as we understand it. If anything could be said to be "eternal" it would be whatever energy exists at this "state." Our universe probably existed at the Planck level before Grand Unification, then Electroweak, and then the primary expansion. In other words, yes, our universe may have come from something eternal, which still exists and is all around us at the sub-sub-sub-sub atomic level as the primary energy of existence. If it makes somebody feel better they might call it an "energy code" or perhaps "The Word" of god or whatever..
          3. Even if we accept the proposition that "god" is some eternal being which needs no creator (and is therefore an atheist), we don't know anything more or less about that god then what we do now through study of the natural world. We don't have any idea if that "god" cares about us or not or what he wants or anything like that. All we have is the "design" to study, and that points us to no specific god and especially not one of the ones popularized by the origin/religion myths on record.

          August 5, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • AE

      “Little science takes you away from God but more of it takes you to Him.”

      –Louis Pasteur

      July 30, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
      • fintastic

        And this is important how??

        July 30, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • TheRationale

      Teleological fallacy...I mean, uh, argument. It's turtles all the way down. *snore*

      July 30, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • ME II

      When the cave man looked at his new home, a cave, did he know there was a cave builder?
      When we look at the potato chip that looks like Jay Leno, was there a sculptor?

      July 30, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
      • aldewacs2

        Jay Leno, is that you, trying to get your name in the news?

        July 31, 2013 at 8:25 am |
    • Matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed

      Matter and energy make up the universe
      The universe is eternal

      July 30, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
      • Edward

        See earlier post....something has, indeed come from nothing. It was both matter and energy.

        August 5, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
        • joe

          how do you know that? How do you know that matter and energy have not just always existed? If a God can do it, why can't matter and energy?

          August 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      The "You can't get something from nothing" argument is so lame because the very next thing they put forth is that there is but one thing that doesn't need to come from anything. The argument as it really is: "Only one thing doesn't need an origin, and that one thing is my version of 'god,' and everything else has him as an origin."

      Lame logic all around.

      Yes, in some ways the universe does look as if it was designed, but surely the best way to discover the supposed "designer" would be to use measureable, testable, verifiable evidence from the universe, correct? If a designer did make the universe, then it would make sense to study the design, which is precisely what the discipline of science is all about. And you wouldn't jump to conclusions that don't fit the facts. Am I wrong, here?

      August 5, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
  14. CommonSensed

    What's wrong with being a good human and doing the right thing without a lot of religious mumbo jumbo?

    Nuthin'.

    July 30, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • JimK57

      That is very true.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
      • lol??

        There are no gud dirtbag dustballs. Even Jesus called Peter, Satan.

        July 30, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
  15. Colin

    It won't be as much fun being in the majority. I enjoyed it more when we were a despised minority.

    July 30, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Upside: more laws based on logic and fewer based on religious sharia laws.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
      • Take a breath

        I wouldn't assume more laws based on logic, necessarily. And "logic" is easily manipulated.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:31 am |
      • Thinker...

        Well, laws shaped by the 'logic' of politics. Not really sure how much improvement there will actually be.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
  16. lionlylamb

    "Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God's Domains" and do not dilly dally with scripted stories around which all biblical based issues as but fables to the commoner and high rollers alike... Find out for yourselves the true whereabouts of God's Kingdom Domains and until you do, you will remain lost and wanting the lusts of the materially centered... The True Kingdom of God's Domains is lain within one's physical essences upon the atomized scales of quantum physiologies, not upon mankind's manly made and fabricated undertakings...

    July 30, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Your word-scramble algorithm can still use a little work.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • BrendaL

      Huh???

      July 30, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
  17. Lawrence

    Which takes more faith? Christians believe that life came from God. Atheists believe that life came from a rock. Science has proven that only life begets life...

    July 30, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Colin

      I know of no atheist who believs that. The only book I know of that says life was created from dirt is the Bible.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
      • Lawrence

        Then answer me where life came from?

        And incidentally, life didn't come from dirt... Life came from God, only the body came from dirt.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
        • Honey Badger Don't Care

          So your god "spoke" the universe into existence and 'breathed" life into some dirt and that explains where life came from.

          This is why people say that religious people are stupid and anti-science.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
        • CommonSensed

          Pray tell, which god? So many to choose from.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
        • Colin

          Oh yeah, that makes ALL the difference. Still dirt and a magic act. lol..... Life likely arose through a long process of abiogenesis, but we don't know for sure. So? I assume you are not going to say " aha...therefore the God I believe in did it". Or are you? If so, give me your evidence to support that position.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
        • Colin

          Lawrence- we are all still waiting on your evidence that your god created the Universe. Come on now.....

          July 30, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
        • AE

          Nobody posting on this board was there when the universe was created.

          We don't know.

          You can post theories. And in 20 years your best theory will probably be proven wrong.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
        • ME II

          @AE,
          "Nobody posting on this board was there when the universe was created."

          True

          "We don't know."

          True

          However those two statement are not related. We can definitely know things happened without witnessing them first hand.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
        • AE

          –We can definitely know things happened without witnessing them first hand.–

          With faith, yes.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
        • ME II

          @AE,
          No faith required, only evidence.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
        • AE

          You have faith in the people telling you about the evidence.

          You haven't seen it with your own eyes. Some of the evidence you are not educated on how to interpret.

          So you place your faith in other people.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
        • ME II

          @AE,
          I place "trust" in the people and the process, yes, but not faith, since their findings can be checked and verified.
          While the knowledge and techniques are available for anyone to confirm or disprove any findings, it is true that no one person could learn enough to verify all scientific knowledge.
          Unlike, faith which has no method, process, or test for confirming its claims.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
        • AE

          Faith is what placing "trust" in people is.

          1.confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
        • redzoa

          I believe in this context, similar to a previous discussion of "faith," the relevant definition is:

          "firm belief in something for which there is no proof"

          July 30, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
        • AE

          Yea, I was talking about the first definition.

          I have proof of God.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
        • redzoa

          You believe you have proof of God. Likely, it is a personal anecdote or a reference to scripture, neither of which would provide testable, empirical support for the claim. Perhaps you should read Lukas77's argument about actual knowledge claims regarding god(s) and why they fail . . .

          July 30, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
        • AE

          I wouldn't believe in God without proof.

          Pride was a big obstacle from the proof.

          God's proof is not the same as your proof.

          I have faith in God today – much like I have faith in science.

          I don't completely understand either.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
        • redzoa

          "Pride was a big obstacle from the proof."

          Ironically, I believe you stated that you refuse to concede that you might be wrong. Apparently pride was not an obstacle, but the catalyst to immunizing your "faith" in your "proof" from any any and all possible contradictory evidence. In other words, your "proof" is only valid in the kangaroo court of your imagination.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
        • AE

          I believe in God.

          I don't have to prove this to you.

          God is my ultimate judge, not you.

          I'm not on trial on this board. I'm sharing my knowledge of God and testifying (a form of proof) that God is real.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Well, you post on here claiming a knowledge of god and profess to having proof, but when asked for said knowledge and proof you have none. Evolution, for example, has evidence that can be examined and tested: DNA, tree of life, geographical distribution, etc. Most of what can be tested in the bible fails – no one has turned water into wine, no one has lived in a fish, no one has been turned to salt, no one has walked on water, etc.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
        • redzoa

          " I'm sharing my knowledge of God and testifying (a form of proof) that God is real."

          You are sharing your unproven "faith" in your "belief" that you have a subjective "knowledge" of God. Furthermore, testifying is not a form of "proof"; and although it may be a form of "evidence," in any actual trial, witness testimony must be shown to be founded in actual personal knowledge of the matter. Furthermore, although the testimony itself my provide sufficient evidence to support admission of the testimony as being based in personal knowledge, the mere unsupported claim that one possesses personal knowledge alone is insufficient.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
        • AE

          I claim if you humbly ask God to reveal Himself to you – I believe He will. Try to let go of everything you think you know about God – both good and bad.

          I believe in biological evolution – it appears to be a fact.

          There also appears to be a great intelligence behind it.

          July 30, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
        • redzoa

          @AE – I've no doubt you're a nice person and that if we were seated on a plane next to each other, we'd have a wonderful and friendly conversation (so long as we steered clear of politics and religion). I'm also convinced you are sincere in your beliefs and, although I don't share or necessarily respect the beliefs you hold, I actually do respect you as a person and your willingness to share them in an otherwise respectful manner, that is, I don't directly recall you name-calling or the like. But with all due respect, you are presuming that you know something that you do not if you insist you possess an actual knowledge of God. This tendency towards presumption is further evident in your inference that I have never humbly asked God to reveal him/her/itself to me. I have, many, many, many times throughout my childhood, adolescence, and even into adulthood. The catch to your premise is that there are a number of "True Scotsman" fallacy "outs" for my not having had some revelatory experience, e.g. I didn't ask with the proper humility, didn't have the requisite faith, it just wasn't part of God's will, etc, etc.

          I didn't arrive at my non-belief in the God of the Bible by some apathetic epiphany; rather, it was a slow and inevitable erosion by continually reviewing the arguments for and against, reviewing the available evidence, and this is a process I continue presently. As I said before, I concede I could be wrong and I will always reserve the right to change my mind if the evidence warrants such a change. But it is hard, nigh impossible for me to take direction and advice from someone who refuses to concede that they too might be wrong and are effectively claiming for themselves knowledge which is beyond the capacity of mortals.

          July 30, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Religions believe life came from something they can't prove exists. Science proves that life comes from things that do exist.

      Next?

      July 30, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
      • endpointtraining

        So, life came from non-life, conciseness from matter, and existence from........ alien seed?

        And you've tried to disprove all of these things to such an extent that you can't help but believe they are all true? Excellent!

        July 30, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
        • CommonSensed

          There are far more substantiated facts in my world view than those given by any religion I've studied.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Lawrence

      So your response to "tell me where life came from" is to ridicule? Uh huh, you really don't want to tell me that either the "scientific" answer to life is that it came from inanimate matter (impossible), or you just don't know.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
      • Colin

        I assume this is a badly positioned response to me. Of course I don't know where life came from. I said that. It quite possibly arose from inanimate matter – indeed, very likely so. We have no idea exactly how, but it very likely did. That is not impossible, just not yet known. We don't yet know how to put a man on Mars, but that does not make it impossible.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
        • CommonSensed

          Actually, we do. We lack both the political will and budget. But it will happen – even terraforming is a possibility and the science is getting there.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
      • CommonSensed

        If facts to you is ridicule then you've failed before you've begun.

        You are made of inanimate matter, yet the sum is greater than the whole and is life. If you've ever researched the science involved you'd know of the possibility. 100% fact yet? No. More solid basis for fact than some books, scrolls or hieroglyphs? Yes.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
      • Odds

        Oh, Lawrence, it's going to be such a sad day at church when a complete and plausible mechanism for the creation of life from inanimate matter is revealed. Of course, you would have thought that when it was revealed that the earth was not the center of the universe the church would have learned not to make unsubstantiated claims that are easily proven incorrect, given adequate knowledge and technology.

        You think science will never unlock the secret to the origins of life? Take your head out of the sand! The evidence is mounting. There are far too many "coincidences" in nature that indicate life from inanimate matter is not only plausible, but perhaps even inevitable under the proper conditions.

        You'd better prepare yourself to dig that hole a little deeper. It won't be long until the sand doesn't bury your head any longer.

        July 31, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • Gingeet

      Lawrence, looks like you have a lot to learn still. You seem to have little understanding of science and even less understanding of critical thinking. I hope that is not your best for proof of your god. You might want to brush up on those....

      July 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • fintastic

      Larry is a big fat "god did it" fail.....

      July 30, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Edward

      Not true. Random combinations of seemingly lifeless branch chain amino acids can produce viable life as we see it.

      August 5, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
      • joe

        The branch chain amino acid v. God is immaterial. Even if the latter were true, it could equally be used by Islam or any other religion so it adds nothing to the Christian religion

        August 5, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
  18. Saraswati

    The problem with the internet is that we all get used to being publicly very wrong and learning to accept that. Unfortunately, this doesn't mesh well with many traditional religions which hold either books or individuals above error. Some forms of religion may survive this type of open critique, but it will be a new normal in what religion is, and only those that drop inerrancy as a premise will survive.

    July 30, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • niknak

      They will survive like they always have, by rewriting the thing.
      The babble has been rewritten hundreds of times to fit the times it was in.
      The Koran as well.
      Or they reinterpret parts or deemphasize parts at whim.
      If your average xtian went back 500 years they would not recognize what was being preached at church.
      I would not be surprised if religion looks something like what they had in Mr. Lucas' sci fi movie THX 1138.

      At the end of the day, it all comes down to money.
      If the religion can still sucker in enough fools to keep it going, then it will find a way to stay in business.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        You can still attend a Latin mass at a Catholic Church which is precisely the same as it has been since about 450 A.D.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
        • niknak

          Yeah?
          And just how many people understand Latin anymore?
          The priest could be reciting the weather report and all anyone would do is say amen in the right places.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Actually a lot of people who attend those masses regularly understand Latin to the extent it is spoken at the mass. Those who do not can follow an English translation. The connection to the ancient tradition is intrinsically valuable whether one understands the language or not. But that wasn't your point. Your point was that the Church changes in order to remain viable. I'm telling you that that has not specifically occurred in the Catholic Church. With the exception of the stylistic changes from Vatican II, many of which are being refined into better harmony with the ancient, Catholic traditions are unchanged from a very long time ago.

          Your next complaint will be that we don't change

          July 30, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
        • thomas

          ...and in 450 AD the pope was not saying "who am I to judge a gay priest"

          ..so Q. why is it that the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church is actually following popular opinion???

          A. god is merely the mis-application of human's social ability – namely to infer intent and expectations of others – to try to explain the natural world.

          when we can't explain nature, we create a being and talk about intent and expectations of that being

          the pope is merely taking popular opinion and giving it his official blessing. I am unimpressed with church "leadership"

          July 31, 2013 at 5:18 am |
        • TheSaint

          @thomas: oh course he did that in 450 AD: he said, along with Christ,: "who am I to judge a sinner"

          July 31, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
  19. AE

    In my time of need there were places I went where people who had faith in God helped me. For free.

    I didn't see any places like this from atheists. Unless I was willing to pay money (therapy, counseling).

    July 30, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      There is NOTHING done through religious means that cannot be done through purely secular means. And usually for better reasons and without someone pocketing most of the money.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
      • AE

        In theory.

        In reality, my cry for help was heard and help was offered by Christians.

        And I wasn't Christian.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
        • Lou

          They help to draw you in....a weaken mind is the best tool for a persuader.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:06 am |
        • ensense

          Lou Not really, there are a lot of people who help because they believe god will judge them for their good deeds. whereas for a atheist every thing is about gains and hidden agendas, because if it does not make sense to their rational minds they wont do it.

          July 31, 2013 at 9:55 am |
        • Patrick

          @ ensense
          Really? True SOME might have hidden agendas (just like Christians), but not everyone. In my rational mind it makes sense to help each other without the hidden agenda of getting something back. You said it yourself " there are a lot of people who help because they believe god will judge them for their good deeds." I do all my good deeds knowing no one is watching, knowing no one will pat me on the back, knowing I'm not moving up God's party list into heaven, I do it because I can, I want to, and it is the right thing to do.

          Here... you want to see what the heads of the religion are doing with the money they make...
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yDh-hE2OLvM

          July 31, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Atheists on the left are pushing to make psychological services available as part of a national healthcare system. Libertarian atheists either support secular charities or an policy of individualism. It really depends what atheist you're talking to as they come in many different forms. We have several agencies where I live that provide free or cut cost services to those who's insurance won't cover it.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Colin

      Oh, well, clearly the Judeo-Christian god is real.

      PS: I didn't know the church ran volunteer sypylis clinics.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
      • AE

        If I need someone to scoff at me, I'll reach out to someone like you.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Honey, I think the problem for a lot of these folks is that they think atheists will be running atheist charities. which is very rare and not just a little silly in most cases. For the most part atheists, along with people of other god beliefs, support *secular* charities, like the Red Cross. We just don't have issues joining together with others for shared causes.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
      • Honey Badger Don't Care

        Very true.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        True, the authors foundation just celebrated raising a million dollars. Imagine, a million dollars!

        July 30, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
        • Doobs

          Okay, Bill Deacon, you win. Mother Teresa raised way, way more than that. Why, she got $1.25 million from Charles Keating alone.

          Of course, it was all funneled into the RCC's general purposes fund, and NOT into the charitable organizations it was designated for, but why quibble about minor details like that?

          July 30, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          I wonder whatever happened to the thousands of girls Mother Theresa took in off the streets into her orphanages? Oh yeah, they became the Sisters of Charity.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
        • Saraswati

          One only slightly upper middle class neighbor dies these days and you have an estate donatation over $1 million. That's about what most folks need to retire these days.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
      • ensense

        Even there atheists donate far less then people believing in religion.

        July 31, 2013 at 9:58 am |
        • AdamC

          Being religious doesn't make you a bad person. It just means you're naive.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
        • Zap

          On the contrary, this is a myth perpetuated by religiots. Sadly taking into account the weekly social club subs (sorry, collection for good causes) the religious average less charitable donation than those of no religious affiliation. Likewise "invisible" secular organisations tend not to get tax exempt status, so have more important places to spend their money than on team tee shirts – something that religious organisations take full advantage of. Also secular organisations spend little time loudly shouting "praise the sky fairy that sent this hurricane, that it may be cynically used to further his glory!" ( not surprisingly). No, I have seen nothing to suggest that the religious are more charitable, either in spirit or deed

          July 31, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
        • Dandintac

          "Even there atheists donate far less then people believing in religion."
          Really? You have proof of this assertion? Bill Gates is an agnostic (a polite way of saying "atheist"–I say the same thing in polite company), and Warren Buffet too. They are giving their entire fortune to charity. How can anyone know this? There are many people who don't believe and still give to Christian charities, since they care more about what the money does. I've given to the Salvation Army many times, and I don't remember ever once being asked for my religious affiliation.
          I think this is a crock. I'm willing to bet that atheists and Christians donate in roughly equal proportion. I've also read that Muslims give more than Christians to charity. Does this give more truth to their religion? Not only is your assertion highly questionable, it's irrelevant.

          August 1, 2013 at 12:29 am |
    • watergirl

      I do agree that religions do help many with charities. When my spouse and I were in desperate need, the Mormons helped us out. They simply told us where their social lines were and never once pitched to us.

      Still doesn't mean that I am going to convert and be a Mormon.

      What I do is support their religion and defend them.

      July 31, 2013 at 9:12 am |
      • lookoverhere

        In any case, lucky you weren't a bit younger and fell into the hands of an overly "affectionate" priest.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • lookoverhere

      Perhaps that's because if atheists tried setting up shop they would have been driven out of town by pitchfork and torch???...It's only in recent years that non-belief is not being violently persecuted by the religious. Oh wait, forgot about the blogger in saudi arabia sentenced to 600 lashes today, nice way to reach out, with a whip...

      Remember too, you live in a country that separated church and state, and so religious organizations are able to prosper...

      July 31, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Amor DeCosmos

      I am an atheist, I am a member of a Unitarian Unversalist Church. Same situation as you, but I didn't need any supernatural powers to do it. ...and it was free...

      July 31, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
  20. Lawrence

    Part of the problem is that too many people focus on those in the "Christian community" who are not Christians... And I'm using biblical definitions here; my friend, Rob Bell is not a Christian. For a start, look to true Biblical Christian examples like John Macarthur, R.C. Sproul, Erwin Lutzer, Todd Friel, and study what they teach. And I say this to Christians as well as Atheists. Too many people get their theology wrong by listening to pretenders, or for the simple reason that they refuse to read the Sciptures for themselves.

    July 30, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • humanistJohn420

      No true Scotsman fallacy Lawrence. Nice try though.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.